Ask any CEO which is more valuable to them. What happened 3 months ago, or what’s going to happen in 3 months time?
Much has improved over the past 5 years. Many Trusts have business intelligent (BI) solutions that tell them what has been happening. They can use this information to improve, but only after the event. So what would happen if managers knew with reasonable certainty what was going to happen next week or next month.
In the commercial world this is not unusual. Supermarkets know how much of each product to put on the shelves for the coming weeks or months. Similarly airlines know where their planes need to be next week or month. The same techniques are available to Hospitals.
But what if the news is bad? Until recently it was not unusual for Trust culture to be that bad next does not travel up. But times are changing. Now managers want to know if there is trouble ahead.
In the past these managers were rewarded for being good firefighters. Stepping in to douse the flames after the fire has taken hold, or even tidying up after the flames have burnt out. The more gifted were able to spot the flames early through intuition, but such successes were rarely consistent.
But times are changing. The new penalty regime introduced in the 2013/14 contract punishes Trusts quickly for breaches of targets. And the DoH have taken away commissioner’s abilities to let hospitals off lightly, through local negotiations. The penalties are now nationally enforced.
So as the pressure builds between financial saving (Nicholson challenge, CIP, QIPP, etc.), safety concerns, quality of care and patient satisfaction, managers need to look elsewhere for solutions. Before the problems occur.